It’s quite reasonable to ask can I give my baby pork, as it gets much attention from health food gurus and the media. It also comes in so many varieties that it finds its way into our daily diet quite often.
Bacon and ham are the most common forms that are consumed, but also items like pork chops and pork loin make it to the dinner table, and causes parents to wonder if it’s OK for baby.
You have to consider when is the right time to give your baby meat in the first place, and since pork is one of the less healthy meats available it should be introduced as late as possible, and given as infrequently as possible, for the best health for your baby.
Can I Give My Baby Pork? Answer: Infrequently, if at all.
The pork industry would have you believe that pork is just as healthy as chicken, but it’s been proven time and time again that it’s not on the same level. Lean proteins like chicken, turkey, and some cuts of beef offer a good nutritional bang for your buck as an adult. However, babies don’t need as much protein as adults do, because they do not have as much muscle as adults.
The Other White Meat
What babies require is a good amount of nutrients, like those found in fruits and vegetables. You should keep the amount of meat your baby consumes to a minimum, and just as a way to balance out the meal.
The Adult/Baby Difference
It’s easy to make the mistake of transferring your own nutritional needs to your baby. As an adult you may be used to a good-sized portion of meat with sides of vegetables and a starch. While this may constitute a square meal for many of us, it’s not recommended for a baby. A baby’s diet should lean more towards vegetarian fare, with meats being occasionally included as the side attraction, not the main event.
The Introduction of Pork to Your Baby
If you enjoy eating pork products and you eventually plan to feed them to your child as they grow, then make it a slow, gradual process so that their body can handle it. Eventually they’ll be eating right along with the rest of the family, but there’s no need to rush them to it.
At 3 Months
At three months your baby’s digestive system is still forming, and it wouldn’t be a good idea to give them pork, let alone any solid foods at all. This would be like throwing a wrench down a nice clean and brand new machine. Formula and breast milk is best at this time.
At 6 Months
New research is showing that you can start adding meat to your baby’s regimen at this time, but it’s a good idea to stick with vegetables and fruits so that they stay regular and get lots of vitamins and minerals.. If you do introduce meat it’s recommended that you start with white meats like chicken and turkey -not pork, and that you chop up the meat as finely as possible. Pureeing it helps their digestive system pull the minerals like iron from the meat, and helps them pass the rest more easily.
At One Year
At this point your baby can now start handling cubed pieces of meats and chewing them up on their own. Again, as far as meat goes you should continue on with what they’re used to, white meat, and you can start to add in the occasional red meat in the form of beef. Pork is still not recommended, but can be included every now and then if that’s what the rest of the family is having.
Alternatives to Pork
Many people find pork one of the more delicious meats. A pan of frying bacon is intoxicating to most men, and a ham and cheese sandwich always seems to satisfy. Pork chops and apple sauce is a favorite for Homer Simpson. However, adult taste buds are quite different than a baby’s, and their palate is just starting to form. They won’t have a hankering for pork unless you help them develop it, and there are several meats that taste just as good, and don’t carry the same health risks.
Consider giving your baby chicken or turkey instead of pork. Even then you should use high-quality cuts so that they get the most benefit from it, without added fat, nitrates, and other additives. If you are insistent on giving them pork, make sure you go organic so they have the highest quality experience.